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Store Locator Plus 4 and Add-On Improvements

SLP4 Banner 2013-Oct-29

New To SLP4

A lot of people have upgraded to Store Locator Plus 4 or are trying the latest version of Store Locator Plus for the first time.     For those of you still on the fence, here are some reasons you may want to consider upgrading.

Responsive Design

For those of you that do not know what a “responsive website” is, the simple answer is a website that readily adapts from a desktop presentation to a mobile presentation without causing odd wrapping or font sizes.   Your website is usable by users visiting from a computer browser or on their smaller screen mobile devices.   For a well designed WordPress Theme the Store Locator Plus 4 layout plays well with responsive designs.    The hard-coded HTML tables are no longer standing in the way of automatic wrapping.  Graphic Designers and User Experience professionals love the new HTML5 and CSS design elements of Store Locator Plus

Custom Layout

Move stuff around to match your site design.   Put the map next to the results.   Re-order the fields on the search form.  It is all possible with the various add-on packs, Pro Pack for general layout changes, Enhanced Search to tweak the search form, Enhanced Map to change the info bubbles on the map, and Enhanced Results to change the search results layout.   Design is now in your hands with no coding required.   Use edit boxes and short codes to put everything exactly where you want it.

Improved Data Import and Export

Fire up the Pro Pack and import your custom CSV files with a new “header defines fields” option, allowing you to add or drop Store Locator Plus data columns with ease.     Export your entire locations list to a CSV file for tweaking or moving locations between sites.

More Categorization Tools

Use Tagalong to categorization your locations.    Mark hotels that have a pool, a business center, and a restaurant with icons that you visitors can easily identify.    Put the icon legend on the user interface with the Pro Pack layout tool.   While you are at it why not add a built-in cascading menu to help users filter out locations, one click and its done with the Tagalong add-on.    Don’t like where the category menu appears in the search form?  Change it with the Enhanced Search layout controls.

Featured and Ranked Locations

Added just this week, the latest version of Enhanced Results gets even more features when combined with the brand-new Super Extendo add-on pack.    With both add-on packs installed your location data is extended to include a new featured location checkbox and a rank entry field.     Features locations are highlighted automatically with the Default and eLogix SLP Themes with more featured-location-friendly themes in the pipeline for future patches to the base plugin.    Use Enhanced Results sort order settings to change the order of locations to display featured items at the top of the list.   Or put them in a specific order by the rank setting.

More Store Pages Controls

Management of Store Pages has been improved with new settings to auto-publish locations versus defaulting to draft status.    Inline controls on the Manage Locations interface now allow you to quickly edit, trash, or change the published status of your locations.

Active Development, New Features

Store Locator Plus 4 and the related add-on packs are in active development.    New features are planned throughout the Store Locator Plus 4 life cycle.    Inline updates will bring new features to your purchased add-on packs and the base plugin as work begins on the features Wish List.    Performance and extensibility improvements are being made on a weekly basis.    Upgrade to Store Locator Plus 4 and get all of the above features plus any fresh new features I can squeeze into the product during the weekly development cycle.

Keep up-to-date on the latest patches and features via the Store Locator Plus 4 Change Log posts.    You can always find the latest versions and what has changed from week-to-week in these routine blog posts.

 

 

Just Out Of The Pipeline

Super Extendo

Works with other add-on packs to extend location data and add new features.  Currently configured to work with Enhanced Results to add a featured location and ranked location field.    Plans are to extend this to allow user-managed/created fields.

Janitor

A free add-on pack that blasts known Store Locator Plus settings from the WordPress options table while keeping location data intact.  Also allows an “inside look” at the settings.   It will be extended to pull options data from all of the add-on packs.  Currently works with the base plugin, Enhanced Results, Pro Pack, and Super Extendo,

 

In The Pipeline

For those of you that actually read these posts, here are some of the things that are in development thanks to sponsored customization requests from other customers…

Enhanced Search : Discrete State Search

A new feature coming to Enhanced Search replaces the current “show state drop down” on/off option with a new “hidden, drop down as address input, drop down as discrete filter” option.   The last option will provide a drop down the is constructed from the states in your locations table, but unlike the current “drop down as address input” feature the new feature will limit results to only those listed in that state.    While I’m at it I may have a “do not limit results to a radius” option as well, ensuring all locations in that state come back.

Pro Pack : Update Locations

Currently with skip duplicates enabled your CSV import will not update location data if the name and address match what is already in the database.   This new option will tell Store Locator Plus to update the existing record if the name and address match, allowing for a quick way to change secondary elements such as descriptions, phone numbers, or site URLs via a CSV import.

ETA is by December 2013 for both features.

 

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What’s New : Mid-May Store Locator Plus Releases

Here is what is new for the mid-may updates of Store Locator Plus and the add-on packs.

Store Locator Plus

Version 3.11

Edit Latitude and Longitude

Previously  a Pro Pack feature, editing the latitude and longitude of an existing location is now part of the base plugin.

Edit Lat Long
Edit Lat Long

Manage Location Interface Tweaks

The rows on the manage location interface are now highlighted on mouse over.

The coloring of odd, even, and non-geocoded rows are now 100% CSS based as is the hover feature.   For Pro Pack users that means you can now change these elements by entering the modified CSS rule in the CSS settings entry on the Pro Pack panel.

Manage Locations Row Highlight
Manage Locations Row Highlight

Other Patches And Stuff

A typo in the search form CSS has been fixed, which cleans up a number of themes that lay out the search form with side-by-side form entries.  The term “add_in_address” should have been “addy_in_address”; if you made your own custom CSS rules you will want to make a note of the change to the div ID.

JavaScript files now have the main plugin version associated with them, helping ensure they are cleared out by caching plugins.   Some fixes have been made so Tagalong stops mis-behaving in some areas.   Hooks and Filters have been tweaked to make for better integration with Enhanced Maps.   Some bugs have been fixed like retaining the lat/long when editing a location and keeping track of a store ID after doing an edit.

Speaking of JavaScript, the map processor has a couple of interesting fixes.  One of them stops the map from breaking on IE8 when the Pro Pack location sensor is enabled.   Another bug fix ensures map markers show up if one of the locations does not have a custom map marker when the Pro Pack, Tagalong, or Enhanced Maps custom map markers are being shown on the same map.   The JavaScript warning from Google Maps saying “g undefined” has also been eliminated when users search for a location the returns “no results found”.

More hooks and filters have been added, giving even more control to the add-on packs and third party developers.  Things like add-on packs being able to filter the location data the is selected during a search from the front end user interface.   The filter for AJAX/JSONP processing also happens to make the base plugin a bit lighter and faster by moving Pro Pack specific processing into the Pro Pack.

Enhanced Map

Version 0.7

Custom Location-Specific Map Markers

Thanks to the folks at Integrated Listening and their sponsorship of this feature, you can now set custom map markers on a per-location basis.  Every location can have its own custom map marker.

Per Location Map  Markers
Per Location Map Markers

Center Map At Attribute

Now you can set the center of the map on a per-page basis.    The new center_map_at attribute on the SLPLUS shortcode will help you here.

Pro Pack

Version 3.11

Set “Any” Text on Tags Drop Down

No more code editing or language file editing to change the text “Any” on the tags drop down menu.  It is now a setting on the Map Settings admin page.

Pro Pack Tags
Pro Pack Tags

Run Reports Fixed

The run reports link is fixed and no longer generates a “permission denied” error.

Tagalong

Version 0.9

Search By Category

The “show categories on search form” option has existed in Tagalong for a while but the Store Locator Plus was heavily re-worked, breaking this feature.  The category data was both serialized and attached to custom WordPress page types.   This made filtering and searching the data exceedingly complex.   The serialized categories has finally been wrangled and a brand-new Store Locator Plus data processing filter provided the tools needed to make search by category functional again.   Yup, you can now display the Tagalong categories on your search form and have it actually only return results that match the user’s selection.

Category Selector from Tagalong
Category Selector from Tagalong

Bug Fixes

Tagalong has been misbehaving after the last few updates to Store Locator Plus.   This release patches several bugs including:

Duplicating addresses during edits.

Forgetting the assigned Tagalong categories.

Forgetting the lat/long when editing a location.

Other Enhancements

There are also some minor modifications that guide you toward how to use Tagalong.

For example, the Hide Empty Categories feature has been re-labelled and has better instructions.   Since it only works if Store Pages is enabled, it is only possible to turn it on if Store Pages is installed.   It also automatically de-activates if Store Pages is de-activated.   The help message also lets you know that draft Store Pages are considered “empty”.

Speaking of category lists, both the edit locations form on the admin panel and the drop down category list on the user-facing map page have been cleaned up.   Categories are now shown in their proper hierarchical format with parent categories appearing above children with the children indented.